Heart health with a haircut: Bringing care to underserved communities

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A nurse checking man’s blood pressure.
U.S. Rep. Steven Horsford receives a blood pressure check at the recent CVS Health Las Vegas barbershop event.
A man and a woman check into health screening event.
Community members who attended the barbershop event received free health screenings, as well as blood pressure, cholesterol, weight and glucose monitoring.

A recent heart health community event in Las Vegas highlighted our ability to reach underserved communities, diagnosing and treating people who may not typically have easy access to health care services.

The event in partnership with U.S. Rep. Steven Horsford’s office was held outside a local African American barbershop as a way to bring needed health care to an area with few providers.

“Barbershops and salons provide safe places to have honest conversations about our lives, our health and our community,” said Horsford, noting the important role these spaces play as neighborhood gathering points. “The health care shortage in Nevada is very hard on the African American and Hispanic communities, and we need more companies like CVS Health to step into that gap.”

Health disparities continue to be an issue affecting minority communities, including Nevada. In 2017, the African American community in Nevada had the highest mortality rates of heart disease (291.7 per 100,000 people). This is in contrast to the aggregate rate of heart disease among all race/ethnicity groups (206.5 per 100,000 people).Minority Health Report 2019, Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health and Equity; http://dhhs.nv.gov/Programs/CHA/MH/

The day’s activities showcased how CVS Health and Aetna are bringing together the combined power of a health care provider and insurer to help consumers achieve improved health. In addition to the free health screenings, including blood pressure, cholesterol, weight and glucose monitoring, a local MinuteClinic practitioner was on site to help patients navigate their health concerns.

“Our vision as a combined company is to help people achieve their unique health ambitions,” said Daniel Knecht, M.D., Vice President of Clinical Strategy and Innovation for CVS Health. “This kind of hyper-local care model allows us to step into the community, and successfully engage with the people we serve in a culturally appropriate and personalized manner.”

Screening results reinforced the need for such care models, especially in underserved communities like West Las Vegas. Over 70 percent of participants had an abnormal blood pressure reading, more than double the national average.https://www.cdc.gov/dhdsp/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fs_bloodpressure.htm

Additionally, over 50 percent had an abnormal glucose reading; the national average sits below 10 percent.https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/pdfs/data/statistics/national-diabetes-statistics-report.pdf

Recent studies have demonstrated the key role barbershops play not only in screening but connecting patients to ongoing treatment. In April 2018, a landmark trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine found significant, sustained reductions in blood pressure among patients who engaged with a pharmacist in the barbershop.https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1717250 CVS Health is working closely with these national experts to bring the model to more communities.

Horsford, who had coronary artery bypass surgery at the age of 40, understands the importance of hypertension management and living a healthy lifestyle. He noted that events like the heart health clinic can extend health care services to where they’re needed most.

“In the African American community, we don’t talk enough or share enough between the generations. We need to break the cycle of health care disparities,” he said. “I appreciate CVS Health’s desire to bring their services into the community.”

An afternoon panel discussion moderated by Horsford and featuring CVS Health leaders engaged local community leaders and providers in a conversation about the special health care needs of underserved communities and potential solutions.

David Casey, Chief Diversity Officer for CVS Health, noted that the U.S. health care system needs to do a better job “figuring out how to bring personalized health care to consumers not just where they live, but how they live.”

He pointed to CVS Health initiatives such as Building Healthier Communities, a five-year, $100-million commitment to support critical partnerships with nonprofit organizations, as an example of effective public-private efforts. Another new initiative called Destination: Health will help some of Aetna's most vulnerable Medicaid and Dual eligible members access social services within their community more easily.

Las Vegas boasts nine MinuteClinics, which provide walk-in services seven days a week. Nurse practitioners and physician assistants offer expert medical care for a wide array of minor illnesses, minor injuries and skin conditions as well as monitoring of chronic conditions and the provision of immunizations and physicals.

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Tobacco-free college campuses

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Hats off to these U.S. colleges and universities who are committed to developing 100% smoke- and tobacco-free campus policies. Since 2016, the CVS Health Foundation, in partnership with the American Cancer Society and Truth Initiative, have provided grants to the following schools to help them advocate for, adopt and implement policies.

Learn more about our Tobacco-Free Generation Campus Initiative and how you can help!


Concordia College Alabama
Lawson State Community College
Lurleen B. Wallace Community College
Shelton State Community College
Talladega College
University of West Alabama
Wallace Community College Selma


Ilisagvik College
University of Alaska Anchorage


Grand Canyon University
Pima County Community College
Mohave Community College


Shorter College


Antelope Valley College
Art Center College of Design
Bakersfield College
California State University, Chico
California State University San Marcos
Cerro Coso Community College
Citrus College
City College of San Francisco
Clovis Community College
College of Alameda
College of the Redwoods
Columbia College
Crafton Hills College
Cuesta College
Evergreen Valley College
Foothill College
Gavilan College
Long Beach City College
Los Angeles Valley College
Merritt College
Mills College
Orange Coast College
Oxnard College
Porterville College
Reedley College
Saint Mary's College of California
Santiago Canyon College
Shasta College
Stanford University
University of San Francisco
Ventura College
West Valley College
Whittier College


Aims Community College
Arapahoe Community College


Fairfield University
Housatonic Community College
Naugatuck Valley Community College

District of Columbia

Howard University


Flagler College
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University
Florida Keys Community College
Florida Memorial University
Indian River State College
Northwest Florida State College
St. Petersburg College


Brenau University
Morehouse College
The Interdenominational Theological Center


Chaminade University of Honolulu
Kaua'i Community College
University of Hawaii
University of Hawaii on behalf of Maui College


North Idaho College


St. Xavier University
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


Indiana State University
Indiana University
Indiana University Bloomington
Saint Mary's College


Fort Scott Community College


Frontier Nursing University
Western Kentucky University


York County Community College


Anne Arundel Community College
Baltimore City Community College
Loyola University Maryland
St. Mary's College of Maryland
University of Maryland Eastern Shore


Bay Path University
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
Mount Holyoke College
Mount Ida College
Roxbury Community College
Springfield College
Urban College of Boston


Alma College
Davenport University
Ferris State University
Oakland University
University of Michigan
Walsh College
West Shore Community College


Gustavus Adolphus College
Minnesota State University, Mankato


Alcorn State University
Coahoma Community College
Hinds Community College, Utica Campus
Jackson State University
Mississippi Valley State University
Rust College
Tougaloo College
University of Mississippi
University of Southern Mississippi


University of Missouri


Great Falls College – Montana State University


Metropolitan Community College
Western Nebraska Community College


Truckee Meadows Community College
Western Nevada College

New Hampshire

Dartmouth College
University of New Hampshire

New Jersey

Bergen Community College
Montclair State University
New Jersey City University
Rowan University
William Paterson University of New Jersey

New Mexico

San Juan College
Santa Fe Community College

New York

Dominican College
Finger Lakes Community College
Herkimer County Community College
Mercy College
Nassau Community College
Nazareth College of Rochester
North Country Community College
Onondaga Community College
St. Francis College
St. John's University
St. John Fisher College
State University of New York - Sullivan
SUNY Potsdam
University at Albany, SUNY

North Carolina

Alamance Community College
Bladen Community College
Duke University
East Carolina University
Fayetteville State University
Isothermal Community College
Lenoir-Rhyne University 
North Carolina A&T University
North Carolina Central University
Piedmont Community College
Pitt Community College
Robeson Community College
Saint Augustine's University
Shaw University
University of North Carolina Wilmington
Winston Salem State University


Blue Ash College, University of Cincinnati
Bowling Green State University
Cuyahoga Community College
Lorain County Community College
Terra State Community College
University of Cincinnati
University of Dayton
University of Findlay
Wilberforce University


College of Allied Health


Oregon State University
Treasure Valley Community College


Bryn Mawr College
Chatham University
Cheyney University
Community College of Allegheny County
Community College of Philadelphia
Gannon University
Lackawanna College
Lincoln University
Penn State University 
Temple University
University of Pennsylvania 
University of Pittsburgh
Westmoreland County Community College

Rhode Island

University of Rhode Island

South Carolina

Allen University
Benedict College
South Carolina State University
Technical College of the Lowcountry
Wofford College

South Dakota

South Dakota State University


East Tennessee State University
Lane College
Meharry Medical College
Tennessee State University
University of Tennessee, Chattanooga
University of Tennessee, Knoxville


Alvin Community College
El Paso Community College
North Lake College
Prairie View A&M University
South Texas College
Southwestern Christian College
Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi
Texas Christian University
Texas College
Texas Southern University
University of Texas at Dallas


Salt Lake Community College
Southern Utah University
University of Utah Health Sciences
Weber State University


Green Mountain College
Johnson State College
Vermont Technical College


Hampton University
Norfolk State University
University of Richmond
Virginia Commonwealth University
Virginia Tech
Virginia Union University
Virginia University of Lynchburg

Virgin Islands

University of the Virgin Islands


Columbia Basin College
Pierce College
Whitworth University


Concordia University Wisconsin
Marquette University
St. Norbert College
University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

West Virginia

Bluefield State College
Concord University
Eastern West Virginia Community College
Shepherd University
West Virginia State University

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